Coats with speakers in them let everyone in the room know that you’ve arrived — in style

Designer comes up with unique speaker / clothing combination to make head turns

This is what happens when you take someone interested in fashion and send them to tech school. Meet Tesia Kosmalski — she’s the outside-the-box thinker here who come with a concept of wearing speakers in one’s coat for what she’s calling the “Echo Coats” series.

Echo Coats

Basically, the coats are meant for a woman (or man, if he is so inclined) to playfully announce their arrival in a public space. There are two variations: First is the “Adante Coat” which, as Kosmalski describes it, “teases the world around its wearer by uttering sensual cosmetic titles, originally meant to tempt her own purchasing power.” Interesting description — not sure what it means, but interesting nonetheless.

Adante Coat

The second variation is called the “Staccato coat” and it releases machine sounds from the shoulders to urge people near the walking speaker / woman to get out of her way.

Staccato Coat

Now, while the concept is certainly out there, its execution is actually pretty impressive. Technology involved includes mini-speakers — sadly, none of our good looking, ultra portable, super lightweight portable speakers were considered for this project — as well as headset microphones and iPods.

The MP3 players run a program called RjDj, a reactive music app that combines live environmental sound through headset microphone and sound programming within the iPod itself. The coats, in turn, use these mikes as touch sensors and sound detectors to influence the audio playback.

The mini-speakers, meanwhile, are hooked up to the MP3 player and embedded on the outside of the coats to turn any nicely dressed person into a walking sound circus.

It’s no doubt a notable feat, but when you consider that there’s a full line of quality designed portable speakers that you can wear ALREADY available on the market, this all seems a bit trite, no?

Disagree? Enjoy this very artsy video Kosmalski put together on the fashion below:

Recap of our trip to factories in China

Assembly line in China 

Over the past week, I’ve ventured into five different portable speaker and electronics factories in three different cities including Shen Zhen, GuangZhou, and Donguan.  Typically when I have the opportunity to travel overseas, I am filled with excitement in getting to see a new culture and experience new things.  Unfortunately, this trip was heavily weighted on the business side of things.  Along with that comes an inevitable moral dilemma that all of us have to eventually confront.

As a consumer, everyone has the ability to vote with each dollar that they spend.  Some of us choose to buy local, organic, all natural, or German engineered.  At the end of the day, most consumers are heavily influenced by price, which is the reason that so many of the products we buy are made in China.  If you’re reading this right now, you’re guilty because the monitor you are reading off of is made there and the mouse you might be using to click to another website is also made in China.

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Hello Kitty Products net over $1 billion in sales

Hello Kitty jet

EVA air goes wild with this jet decked out with Hello Kitty paint job and custom interior. We hope that they also serve Sanrio Lollipops in the inflight meal.

Hello Kitty has a ginormous fan-base and it’s really no surprise that Sanrio has earned over  $1 billion in annual sales (and that is back in 2003).  There are over 37,000 licensed Hello Kitty products in the consumer space ranging from commercial airline jets to collectible wine.  Just to give you a little background, Hello Kitty’s real name is Kitty White and she was born in the suburbs of London (not Japan!?).  It all started back in 1992 when Shintaro Tsuji began selling rubber sandals with flowers painted on them.  Shintaro saw a dirrect correlation between profit/sales and the addition of printing cute characters on his sandals.  He hired cartoonists to design these amorphous blob characters (although he probably could have hired some 3rd graders as well).  Ultimately, Yuko Shimuzu came up with the Hello Kitty character design and she made her debut onto a vinyl coin purse in 1994.

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